I try to use some humor in my FAQs. For instance, the last question on one of my FAQ lists is:
“Why is AOL evil and what can I do to fight the evil that lurks among us?”
Now, mind you, this is a site having NOTHING to do with internet access or email or anything like that. So, it kind of jumps out at you when you’re reading the questions in the FAQ.
I’ve tried to combine humor with a bit of sardonic and edgy opinions (that happen to be true.) I go on to answer the question:
Oh, where do I start? AOL is evil because of their utter lack of respect for their users. If you use AOL, you are not actually taking part in the internet community. You get to look around a bit, but you have been walled off from the real experience. But the most IMPORTANT reason AOL is evil is they routinely filter your messages and then not bother to tell you that they filtered your messages. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten email after email after email, each increasingly more hostile, from AOL users who are angry that I’m not responding to them. When in fact, I’ve been responding within minutes of my receiving their email. It’s just that AOL IS FILTERING IT OUT AND NOT ALLOWING THEM TO RECEIVE MY REPLIES.
AOL USERS - VERY IMPORTANT INFORMATION: If you don’t get a reply back from me within 6 hours, there is a VERY high likelihood that AOL is being their typical evil selves and not allowing you to receive my email. They are notorious for this. As long as you use AOL, don’t expect to receive 100% of all your emails. So at least give me a fighting chance and put my email address in your white list before emailing me if you use AOL. Better yet, drop AOL like a lead balloon. As a matter-of-fact, if you can prove to me that you’ve dropped AOL’s service and joined another ISP after reading this, I will send you a free XYZ product. That’s how much I hate AOL. Try me!!!!
Evil, evil, evil, evil. AOL bad, bad, bad.
I have yet to get someone to take me up on the offer, but I fully support the demise of this evil company. And if you’re a marketer that relies on AOL for your business email, you should be hung from the deepest gallows for making such a HUGE mistake. There is no telling how much business you are losing from not getting your customer’s emails. Not to mention the fact that it labels you as a newbie or someone not very knowledgeable about the internet… etc. It’s just yucky. I wish I could simply filter all AOL emails into the garbage and tell people on my sites that if you send me an email from AOL, you’ll be SOL. But, alas, that would be stupid because SO MANY PEOPLE still use AOL. Why? I just don’t understand it.
I’ll get off my high horse now.. but not before saying one more thing. I think the business community should get together and mark a day in the future… for instance, March 1st. On 3/1/05, we should all send an email to all the AOL addresses in our customer/prospect lists and offer them a HUGE discount on whatever it is we sell, if they forward to us a copy of the email that AOL sends out to people who cancel their AOL service. If the entire business community bands together, we could essentially reach the entire customer base of AOL in one fell swoop. We could perhaps eliminate 10% or more of AOL’s customer base in one day if we offer a big enough incentive to our customers. In the same email, give them specific instructions on cancelling (because AOL makes it VERY difficult to cancel) and give them plenty of alternatives and links to sign up at those alternatives… etc.
I’m telling you, we have a LOT of clout and could wreak havoc on AOL. Nothing would make me happier.
Of course, AOL would simply filter all the emails coming into their system on March 1st that contain the terms, “AOL is evil.”
Alas, my dream has faded…